**Page under construction - changes/edits will be made on a daily basis**
* Meiosis - basics
Each person is created from a 50:50 blend of their parents Chromosomal DNA - half your chromosomes are from one parent and half of your chromosomes from your other parent. Each person normally has 46 chromosomes, and they were created from 1 egg and 1 sperm, each with 23 chromosomes. There are 22 pairs of matching "Autosomal" chromosomes normally, and a final pair which determine a persons gender. In women, the final pair consist of two matching X chromosomes, and in Men the final pair are a mismatched single X chromosome and a single Y chromosome.
The process in which the genetic material from each parent is halved to form the DNA contribution in the egg or sperm is called Meiosis. A simplified version of this process is as below:
This simplified diagram only shows 1 of the 23 chromosome pairs, - Chromosome 8. It shows the meiosis events that occurred in the formation of the two gametes that formed "Daniel O'Neill".
(click here to see a more comprehensive explanation of the process of meiosis).
Note how the process of meiosis is slightly different for egg production compared to sperm production. For sperm production, each meiotic event results in 4 gametes (each of which has a chance to fertilise the egg), but for egg production, only one gamete is produced per meiotic event. See the table below for a direct contrast between egg and sperm production.
Grandparent/Child inheritance diagrams
On the main webpage we asked the question: So,.. - how many DNA "coin tosses" are there??... We have 23 pairs of chromosomes, but there are there are billions of SNP's. So,.. is it 23 coin tosses? or is it billions of coin tosses?
From the simplified diagram above, we can see that .. instead of being a single coin toss for each chromosome,.. it's kind of like a random scambling followed by two consecutive coin tosses. The first coin toss being grandmas v's grandpas Chromosome, and the second coin toss being the unblended arm v's the blended arm.
In theory, - we'd expect 50% of inherited chromosomes to be a blend of both grandparents, and 50% of chromosomes to be from one grandparent or the other. In practice though,.. from the diagrams below it looks like that more than 50% of chromosomes inherited from a parent are a blend of those from the grandparents, rather than 50% of chromosomes identical to a grandparents and 50% a blend.
What is a Centimorgan? - It's almost like asking "how long is a piece of string",.. it depends....
The official definition is:
A centimorgan is on average 1 million base pairs long, but the actual length of a centimorgan can vary depending on the specific Chromosome, and specific location on that chromosome
So, what does that mean in plain English?.... Using the piece of string analogy, -
eg. a centimorgan can be a different length closer to the end of a Chromosome compared to the centromere
What determines the length of a centimorgan is: - how likely is it that a crossover point has occurred in that region of the chromosome?
You could say that the length of a piece of string is smaller in a region where crossover happens alot, and the length of the string is longer in a region where crossover doesn't happen quite so much... or a centimorgan is less than 1 million bases in a region where crossover occurs more frequently, and a centimorgan is more than 1 million bases in a region where crossover occurs less frequently than average.
Why is Centimorgan length important for genealogy?
If you have a match of (for example) 500 base pairs with a potential cousin, that match is more significant if the exact location of the matching DNA is on a place on a chromosome where recombination is more likely to happen (ie. the bits of DNA from your ancestors are more likely to be mixed up) than if the location is of a low centimorgan value (ie. the bits of DNA from your ancestors are less likely to be mixed up).
Help - If you are a grandparent that has tested with 23andMe (or have tested with family finder at FTDNA) and your grandchild has tested as well (or you are a grandchild whose grandparent(s) has/have tested also), then it would be very helpful if you could add your genome comparison to my collection.